Author Topic: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America  (Read 951 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« on: December 04, 2020, 02:00:39 pm »
Curious about how easy it is to link up with a lose groups of riders on the Trans America route and when is the best time. I hiked the Appalachian Trail solo, but hiked with various partners and groups over the 5.5 months on the trail and ironically only camped alone once. While days were spent hiking alone mostly, during town stops and evening camping there was often a strong comradery, especially as our numbers dwindled as folks dropped out.

It would be nice to know that even if you are riding alone there are other people along the route to watch your back or to share a meal with. Looking at a 2022 ride.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline John Nettles

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 02:14:01 pm »
You should definitely meet other cyclists assuming you are riding in the summer time.  The problem is how you define "link up".  Most likely, if you come across another person or group, they are riding at different speeds or styles, i.e. fewer or more days off, otherwise you would not meet that much or keep leap frogging each other.

When I have ridden the major routes, I usually link up with a person or group I met for only 2 to 4 days at most.  Again, the reason is I am either riding faster or slower or one of us wants to take a day off or fewer miles or whatever. 

I would suggest you use the "Companions Wanted" at ACA or CrazyGuyonaBike and see if you can find a buddy to go with you.  Both are free.  I believe you can also send in your request to ACA and they will put it in the magazine but look in the magazine for the parameters.  Just use CGOAB's classifieds.  Avoid the Forums there.  I no longer participate in the CGOAB Forums as I got sick and tired of Neil's hypocritical attitude and toxic atmosphere of his Forums. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 02:28:15 pm »
I totally agree on the leap frogging and that is what I am thinking about. Ride a day or two with someone here and there and just be part of a community. The problem with finding a companion in advance is the high risk of incompatibility after planning out a trip together. Also, having hiked with partners, people peak and fall off at different rates and that leads to frustration for all concerned. That is why I was thinking a loose group to maybe team up to draft across areas of the plains but climb the mountains solo or with a matched climber. Both physical ability and equipment choices come into play, as well as food and lodging choices.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline John Nettles

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 02:32:33 pm »
My guess is it is very similar to hiking a major route like the AT.  I never count on it but always enjoy it while it lasts, even if just for an hour or so. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 05:22:53 pm »
If you go at a popular time for the direction you are travelling you will meet other riders and cross paths frequently on the Trans America if things are back to normal wen you go.  I'd guess that is much less true during the pandemic.  I would hope that things will be much more normal by 2022.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2020, 11:36:39 am »
The key is when you start and which direction you go. I recommend starting in Yorktown on May 7. It’ll increase your chances. How long you ride with someone depends on how flexible you are. Are you willing to take a day off when they do? Go off route when they do?

I recommend that you ride your own ride. Ride with others when the opportunity presents itself, but don’t let that change what you’re doing. A lot of the really wonderful stuff happens when you’re by yourself that wouldn’t happen in a group.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2020, 12:05:32 pm »
I was planning on riding west to east, isn't that the predominate direction for riders on the TA?  Any suggestions on a start date from the west?
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2020, 09:17:38 am »
A lot of people ride west to east.

A lot of people ride east to west.

I got the impression there were more west-bounders than the other way around.  Perhaps someone from AC has the numbers.

As John Nelson indicated, leaving from the east in early May is a great time to surf the wave of westbound riders.  From what I've read, early June is peak departure time eastbound from the west.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2020, 11:20:43 am »
From what I've read, early June is peak departure time eastbound from the west.
West to East, I'd watch for when McKenzie Pass is due to open to bikes (ODOT predicts opening dates).  It usually opens to bikes a couple weeks before it opens to cars.  It is kind of cool if you catch it when bikes are allowed but cars aren't.  The open date for cars can vary pretty widely depending on they amount of snowpack.  It has opened late into July some years and even August (I think that the August years may have been due to road work), but we started June 11th the year we did the TA and rode when it was open to bikes with no cars.  Santiam Pass is a year round alternate, but McKenzie is a nice ride that I'd hate to miss.
https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Regions/Pages/McKenzie-Highway.aspx

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 11:29:12 am »
By the way.  We hung out here and on cgoab.com before our trip asking about the trip route on forums and reading journals that people started in advance.  We also had our journal started in advance.  So we knew some folks who would be on the route.  We didn't plan on meeting them or anything, but did run into some of them and wound up hanging out with them some a portion of the way.  Others we met and hung out with were just folks we happened upon who we had not previously heard of.

We also enjoyed comparing notes with the riders we encountered that were going the other direction.  I have found on my more recent trips that one disadvantage of UL packing is that folks don't recognize me as a long distance rider and I miss some of those interactions.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2020, 11:20:59 pm »
Leaving too early from the west coast increases your chances of a lot of rain in the Northwest. Pete's departure date of June 11 sounds good to me.

Yes, a lot of people ride west to east, but I'd guess is that twice as many people ride east to west.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2020, 06:07:05 am »
Now that my wife is quickly warming to the trip, we have been exploring other options. We have done several C&O and GAP trips, so that is almost "home turf" for us. We know all of the places to stay, the good parts and the not so lovely spots (Pittsburgh). Another rider turned us on to The Eastern Express Bike route which starts in DC and utilizes the C&O, GAP, KATY Trail and a number of other rail-to-trail and ACA route options before crossing the Rockies via Cameron Pass, CO to link to the TA in Walden, CO.

The route is around 2,100 miles with about 600 miles on bike paths. Being a more direct route, it takes around 15 days less and eliminates a number of big climbs. Because DC is more accessible to us (7 hours drive with a one-way rental), and accommodations in certain remote trail towns need to be reserved months in advance, we are considering an East to West ride.

The upside is, we know the first 340 miles of the route and it is easy yo get to. The downside is being so close to home it could also be easier to quit. I have also read about prevailing winds from West to East, but every single TA video documentary I watch the West to East riders are battling severe headwinds.  :D.

If we ride together, that probably also delays my trip to 2023 before my wife is ready to retire. So many options and so long to plan. Guess we will knock off a few more 7 to 10 days rides and start finalizing our equipment lists. Eire Canal got canceled last year due to a broken ankle from a crash on the first ride of the season. That is back on for fall of 2021 if COVID is behind us. 2022's will probably be more road bound to harden my wife's nerves for traffic.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2020, 07:31:05 am »
The downside is being so close to home it could also be easier to quit.
That can be an actual concern and is something to consider.  Starting far from home helps with being committed to the ride.  By the time you are near home the prize is in sight.  Also it sucks to have an exact set end date.  It makes for a rigid schedule, which IMO is never a good thing.  Getting air travel out of the way in the beginning avoids that.  I have chosen to fly to the distant coast when going coast to coast and then I rode toward home.  On our Trans America friends and family met us the last day and threw us a cookout celebration at the end point.  It was a really nice way to finish.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2020, 08:22:34 am »
The direction of travel is definitely something we are discussing. Losing a bike in shipping would be a disaster, but I know when I hiked the AT I hiked north and already section hiked the last 500 miles. Being on home ground at the end of the trip was a real morale boost for me and I was able to cover long distances since I knew what lay ahead. We want to look at profiles and start times. All the input from here really helps, thank you.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline staehpj1

Re: Meeting other riders or loose group riding the Trans America
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2020, 08:31:59 am »
The direction of travel is definitely something we are discussing. Losing a bike in shipping would be a disaster, but I know when I hiked the AT I hiked north and already section hiked the last 500 miles. Being on home ground at the end of the trip was a real morale boost for me and I was able to cover long distances since I knew what lay ahead. We want to look at profiles and start times. All the input from here really helps, thank you.

I never really worried about the bike getting lost.  I figured the risk was pretty minimal.  I'd actually be more worried that my gear would be lost, but I didn't sweat that much either.  Still, it would be harder to assemble all new gear at the last minute than to buy a bike.  In  any case my approach has most often been to fly with my bike and to ride out of the airport, but having it shipped to a bike shop ahead of time would be one way of knowing ahead of time that it arrived safely.  Shipping to a friend, relative, or warmshowers host are options as well.